When we laid our heads down on a recent Saturday night, none of us could have predicted that our Sunday morning wake-up call would be the news of yet another mass shooting. I’m aware that sentence alone conjures a collective sigh because, sadly, it is becoming so commonplace that we almost wake up expecting to hear bad news. This time, the attack targeted the LGBTQIA+ community at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In an instant, one of the few safe spaces that members of the LGBTQIA+ community could call home was violated by a domestic terrorist resulting in five deaths and leaving 25 others wounded. As easy as it is to give up fighting or turn the other cheek in the face of such violence, it’s that much harder to grab your platform heels, throw on your makeup and give them all you got. But that’s exactly what the performers do on Heartthrob Tuesdays for LGBTQIA+ night at Broken Promises.
For months, Broken Promises, brought to us by the owners of Lost & Found, teased us with cryptic posts leaving me to wonder whether or not there would ever be a promise to break. Then they pulled up on the nightlife scene like they’d been here the whole time — nickname and all. Next thing you know everybody and their mama is saying, “Headed to Broken.” Just like folks that were saying (and still say), “Headed to Lost,” when someone drunkenly begged the question, “Where are we gooo-iiiing?” Even out-of-towners say it like they’re “in” on a secret that only locals know about.
Clout-chasing aside, my curiosity was just waiting for the right time to pay the swanky sister of Lost & Found a visit. Coincidentally, that time came just a week after my visit to Resident Culture South End. “Do you guys wanna go to a drag show at Broken with me tomorrow?” my girlfriend asked with a curious lilt. On any other day, her sweet little voice wouldn’t fool me into visiting South End two weeks in a row, but somewhere deep down it felt like an obligation.
I expected a ridiculous line to greet me on the sidewalk but was pleasantly surprised when we were able to walk right in and snag the last two seats at the bar — prime real estate for watching a drag show. The cherry on top was my girlfriend saying, “I love their espresso martinis!” Yep, I’ll take two.
I turned the chair around to take it all in. No cover, check. Anime girl with a heart around her eye crying next to the neon Broken Promises sign, check. Instagrammable phrases pulled from every bitter love diary scribbled on the walls, check. Patent leather platform boots and yams (the human thigh kind), check. A girl could get comfortable in a place like this.
The plush “sections” (which you can reserve on Tuesdays for FREE.99 with no minimum spend, apparently) were placed in a stadium-seating arrangement allowing for maximum visibility and optimal surface area to make it rain (are they still doing that?).
Suddenly, my view was obstructed by a swarm of Ashleighs. One, in particular, I’m going to call her “Cis-ter,” whipped her weave around so hard I could feel the wind on my face. “Are we in your way? I should be sorry,” she said sarcastically with a Cheshire grin in between giggles before swinging back around with zero remorse. South End gonna South End, after all.
Before I could hold a grudge, the host of the night began introductions. I slunk down in my seat; one thing I’ve learned is you best not be too seen or too heard at a drag show or you may just get publicly dragged, honey!
The anxious anticipation fell away from the expressions of everyone surrounding the stage and were replaced with excitement. And from that moment on there was an overwhelming feeling of “good vibes.” A cliche description, I know, but every time I’ve been to a drag show or an LGBTQIA+ bar from “Scorpio’s” (y’all know y’all don’t call it The Scorpio) to Lost & Found and every other in between, I always leave with a smile — no matter how slammed, sweaty, or expensive the drinks are.
Your rules are drop-kicked out of the window as soon as you walk through the door. You accept (and relish in) the fact that when a queen walks in, they run the house. Every effortless split, hair flip, outrageous outfit, unglued wig, and vogue moment is an act of defiance, a declaration of unapologetic self-love, a delightfully disruptive style of performance activism (the dramatic, in-your-face kind and not the fake, performative kind), and a creatively colorful “Fuck you” to those who dare stand against it.
Needless to say, Heartthrob Tuesdays delivered on its promise.